October 10, 2017

Don't Hamper Disaster Recovery

Stefanie Haeffele

Deputy Director, Academic and Student Programs

Joe Brunk

MA Fellow
Summary

The National Flood Insurance Program hampers recovery after disasters like Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

With Hurricanes Harvey and Irma causing historic flooding and flood-related damage, the National Flood Insurance Program will play an integral role in the recovery process. Residents seeking insurance payouts through the flood insurance program often rely on this source of funding for repairing and rebuilding their homes and businesses. Unfortunately, this program has been falling short in two key ways:

The National Flood Insurance Program was established in 1968 and is managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The program aims to provide affordable flood insurance to property owners in flood zones and to encourage the management and mitigation of flood-prone areas. However, the program has short-changed the insured in the past and is running out of money, making it an unreliable source of assistance for Americans impacted by disasters.

Second, when a home floods, the owner generally faces three options: relocate, rebuild the same house or rebuild a more flood-resistant house. The program aims to encourage rebuilding more flood-resistant housing, yet in practice, it actually encourages rebuilding the same house in the same flood-prone area.

Continue reading